Editor’s Note: Bob Walker of Livingston, Alabama, has guided for deer and turkeys for about three decades at Bent Creek Lodge (http://www.bentcreeklodge.com) in Jachin, Ala. He’s been deer hunting for more than four decades and is a member of Mossy Oak’s Pro Staff, www.mossyoak.com. Walker knows how to find big bucks where no one is looking for them.
The squirrel dog gentleman (See Day 1) asked me to go to his house with him that wasn’t far away to have a cup of coffee. My buddy was still hunting, and I wasn’t meeting him until dark. So, I decided to go with my new friend, drink coffee and talk about squirrel hunting. As we were enjoying the coffee, the man said. “Listen, I have 45 acres of woods that adjoins the WMA where my family once lived, and I have some pastures for my cattle that surround that woodlot. Every day I see large numbers of does coming out in my pastures. Why don’t you hunt those woods and shoot some of those does?” I told him, “Well, thanks, but I’ve already got my deer. But if I come back next year, I’ll see you then, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to hunt those 45 acres of woods you have.”
The next season when I returned to Illinois, I planned to hunt the little creek where I’d taken the big 160-point buck, but that year had been super-dry in the area where I was hunting. Although I saw a few deer, because the creek had dried-up, my spot wasn’t as productive as it had been the year before. Then after my morning hunt, the wind changed, and I couldn’t hunt the spot I’d planned to hunt that afternoon. I went to see Mr. Gary – the squirrel dog man I’d met the year before. His house was only a mile from where I was hunting. When I arrived at Mr. Gary’s house, he fixed a pot of coffee, and we started talking. After only a few minutes, Mr. Gary said, “If we sit here long enough, you’ll see a pile of deer coming out of the 45 acres of hardwoods I told you about last year. They like to come to the little pond I’ve built for my cattle for water to drink.” I hung around, and sure enough we saw 12 does come out of those hardwoods to drink the cattle pond’s water. Once again, Mr. Gary insisted I hunt his hardwoods. I explained that I didn’t want to impose. “Why don’t you come back tomorrow in the middle of the day, let me take you around that little patch of woods, and show you the deer sign that’s there?” Mr. Gary said.
So, the next morning after I hunted the public land, I returned to Mr. Gary’s. We got in his 4-wheeler and rode the 45 acres. The property had been select-cut for timber 2-years earlier and had grown-up in a lot of brush and thick cover. I told Mr. Gary, “There sure enough should be some deer in those thickets.”
I hunted the public land the next morning. But later the wind was wrong to hunt where I wanted to, so, I went over to Mr. Gary’s and set-up a stand. That afternoon I saw 10 deer – one a small buck – coming out of those thickets and going to the pond to water. This hunt was in late October, and I knew the bucks should start rutting any day. I decided to return the next afternoon and hunt this spot. On that day, I got to Mr. Gary’s early and moved my stand a little deeper into the woodlot near the trail that I’d seen the does using the previous day. As I carried my stand to the new stand site, I saw a large number of rubs and scrapes. I really got fired-up seeing all the buck sign. This time, I spotted some really-nice bucks, but they were still a little bit deeper in the woods than where I had put up my stand. I came out of my tree early, moved my stand again, set it up where I’d seen the bucks and then left the woods.
The next morning I hunted the public land and didn’t see any deer. I anxiously hurried back to Mr. Gary’s for that afternoon hunt. Late that afternoon, I saw a very big 8-pointer coming toward my tree stand. When he was at 27 yards, I drew my PSE bow (www.pse-archery.com/), aimed right behind his shoulder and put the buck down. On this hunt, I learned that if you talk to people when you’re hunting public lands, you’ll often discover a great spot to hunt that you’ve never known about, and that no one else ever has hunted.
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